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Car Accidents Caused by Defective Windshield Wipers

Windshield wipers probably aren’t the first thing you think of when you consider the causes of car accidents. But, since windshield wipers are an essential safety feature for any vehicle, when they are not working properly, the chances of an accident happening is much more likely.   At the end of 2018, GM recalled several hundred thousand of its SUV vehicles, specifically the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox, for defective windshield wipers.  The problem involved a defective joint in the wiper unit that corroded and broke during normal use.  The NHTSA is now considering expanding the recall to other GM crossover models based on hundreds of additional complaints it has received from car owners.  The expanded recall could include almost two million additional vehicles.  

Here we will provide some additional information about car accidents caused by defective windshield wipers.

Types of Windshield Wiper Failures & Defects

Of all the parts of your car, the windshield wipers probably seem pretty simple. However, the system is actually composed of several elements. The wiper arm connects to the base of your vehicle and holds the blade, which holds the wiper insert (the rubber squeegee that’s actually in contact with your windshield). Plus, there is actually a separate wiper motor that powers everything.

When one of these elements is defective, the effectiveness of the windshield wiper is impacted and you will likely experience decreased visibility during inclement weather.  As a result, you could very well be involved in a car accident, especially during dangerous weather conditions. In fact, the Federal Highway Administration reports that impaired visibility is a leading factor in 46% of fatal car accidents. Here are some signs of deterioration and/or possible manufacturing defects:

  • Streaking, which may be caused by a defective rubber insert
  • Chattering, which may indicate the wiper blade is not set properly
  • Splitting rubber
  • Rapid rubber deterioration resulting from substandard blade material
  • Uneven sweeps across the windshield, which may be the result of a defective wiper blade frame
  • Wipers that work intermittently or fail altogether

When a windshield wiper motor malfunctions, it can happen almost instantaneously. If a driver is in the middle of heavy traffic or moving at a fast speed—and there’s heavy rain or snow—the likelihood of an accident can be quite high.

What to Do When Your Windshield Wipers are Defective

If you think your windshield wipers may be defective, you can contact your vehicle manufacturer or look online to see if your wipers have been subject to a recall. If not, have a mechanic inspect your blades and wiper system for any signs of a defect. In some cases, manufacturers delay announcing a recall even when they know a dangerous product is on the market, or your vehicle may be a “lemon” suffering from poor assembly and/or faulty parts.

Contact KWFDM After a Defect-Related Car Accident

If you were hurt in a car accident caused by limited visibility due to malfunctioning or defective windshield wipers, contact the legal team at KWFDM today. Our attorneys will investigate the details of your accident and determine if the automotive manufacturer is liable for your injuries.

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